Second and long defence

OK, it's driving me absolutely nuts. We get a team in second and 10 or greater and all of a sudden we turn to swiss cheese. I counted five times in the first half alone when the Lions were in second and 10 (sometimes second and 15!) and just converted with ease, either calling a wide out, a screen, or reading hot and the receiver beating our DB and making the catch. That is crippling. In second and long, the advantage goes to the defence. You should be getting stops and forcing punts most of the time. But Thorpe is seemingly allergic to calling off his blitzes and running different coverages behind the defensive front.

What can we do to improve in second and long pass defence?

At some point the Lions where 14 for 15 in second down conversions. It was the same problem last season.

Need to be able to get pressure with 3 up front 4 at the most.

Three might be unrealistic. But yeah, I’ve been saying for months that the ability to generate pressure with four men is vital. You can’t always send the house and expect to have success. At some point, you need your D-line to be able to generate pressure on their own so you can drop your linebackers into coverage.

From just watching the replays on the main page, I'd have to agree. It seemed like it could have been a close game if the secondary would have been able to come up with a stop. What you want to watch out for in games like this are the guys that give up (and I'm sure there were a few). You don't want that kind of attitude on a rebuilding team - and being tired is not an excuse. When the 3rd string QB comes in and throws for 2 TD's you know there are issues.

What I see is that we consistently "match out" of the shallow flats following receivers, so that it's fairly easy to hit the third receiver underneath with a quick slant in space. That receiver then has no one to even tackle him until he's past the first-down marker, because everyone else has been cleared out on the deeper routes. We're also awful at defending RB screens and our zone coverage needs work. It seems to be too easy for enemy receivers to find soft spots in our zone coverage and settle into those spots for catches.

I don't think it's effort. We have a good, veteran secondary with some ballhawks. I just don't think Thorpe is putting us in a position to succeed in these situations.